Germany Issues Blanket Ban on Hizbullah
Germany’s Interior Ministry has outlawed the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hizbullah and barred it from conducting any activities on German soil. The announcement, made early on Thursday morning, coincided with police raids in Berlin, Bremen, Dortmund and Muenster against mosques and social organizations suspected of ties to the Iran-backed group. Previously, only those activities that could be traced to Hizbullah’s armed wing had been banned, a stance that parallels current European Union policy. An Interior Ministry statement justified the total ban by noting Hizbullah’s commitment to the destruction of Israel. “The organization is therefore fundamentally against the concept of international understanding, regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure.” Israel and the US have declared all of Hizbullah a terrorist group, while the EU has said this only about its armed wing. The early morning raids were directed against individuals and organizations suspected of involvement in financing Hizbullah or disseminating its propaganda.